The reforms of the Sixth Republic came just in time for South Korea to host a successful Summer Olympic Games in Seoul in , despite continued student protests and a boycott by North Korea. The s also saw South Korea increasingly shift its economy toward high-tech and computer industries, and improve its relations with the Soviet Union and China.
Continuing the transition away from military rule and toward democracy, South Korea elected Kim Young-sam , its first civilian president in more than 30 years, in But in late , she was implicated in a scandal involving corruption, bribery and influence peddling, and the National Assembly passed an impeachment motion against her that December. After her impeachment was upheld in March , the center-left candidate Moon Jae-in won a special presidential election in a landslide, pledging to solve the crisis with North Korea using diplomatic means. With most of the country covered by mountains, a majority of its population is clustered around the urban centers.
The month before the games began, North and South Korea agreed to march under the same flag at the Olympics, the latest sign of a partial thaw in relations between the two countries. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present.
North Korea is a country with a population of some 25 million people, located on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula between the East Sea Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. North and South Korea have been divided for more than 70 years, ever since the Korean Peninsula became an unexpected casualty of the escalating Cold War between two rival superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States.
A Unified Korea For centuries before the division, the Much of the fighting took place in what is now northeastern China.
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At the time of the Seoul Games, South Korea had recently emerged from military dictatorship. Just eight years earlier, South Korean military forces massacred students and citizens protesting authoritarian rule. When huge student and labor protests rocked South Korea again in , the government deployed riot police officers and tear gas before eventually agreeing to democratic reforms.
The protests, which eventually led to Ms.
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Just a few weeks ago, the idea of the North participating in Games would have been unthinkable. Kim spent much of developing and testing bombs and ballistic missiles in defiance of international demands. Now, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea says he hopes the Pyeongchang Olympics could end a stalemate and propel the countries to talks. Ultimately, two countries that appear so different, even from space — where the lights of the South far outshine those of the North — have a shared history much longer than the three decades between Olympics.
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These Games may be a chapter in that history, but they are far from the last one. Please upgrade your browser. Site Navigation Site Mobile Navigation. South Korea. North Korea. GDP per capita. Source: Maddison Project Database. Data is estimated on the economies of the regions that would become North and South Korea.
The Korean Peninsula was formally divided in